April 2014 Feature Articles

April 2014 Self Help Articles
News You Can Use

Updated Erie County Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol and Housing Resource Guide

This updated directory lists the services, organizations and individuals that provide care for Erie County residents enrolled in Medical Assistance and/or eligible for Base Funded services.

Click here to download the 2014 Resource Guide

2014 Spirituality and Mental Health Recovery Conference
Date: Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Time: 11:00 am to 4:30 pm, lunch included
Location: Masonic Temple, 32 West 8th Street, Erie
Cost: Free to Family Members and Mental Health Consumers; $30 fee for all others

Click here to download the conference brochure.

Bullying/Cyber-Bullying and Legal Ramifications
Featuring Speaker Elaine Surma
Date: Friday, April 25, 2014
Time: 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
Location: Community Counseling Center of Mercer County, 2201 East State Street, Hermitage
Cost: FREE
RSVP: Please register by April 23, 2014 (space is limited)

Click here to download the flyer.

Keeping Families Healthy Family Forum
Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Time: 9:00 am - 2:45 pm
Location: Jefferson Educational Society, 3207 State St.
RSVP by May 14, 2014 is required
Registration is Free and Lunch is Provided

May is Mental Health Month. The Erie County HealthChoices Advisory Committee recommended a family forum to help consumers and families learn about mental health topics. The topics are meant to provide information and tools to enhance health and wellness on behalf of families and consumers. Provider agency staff are also welcome to attend.

For more information, click here to download the brochure, or contact Kathy Koch at 814-451-6856 or kkoch@eriecountygov.org.

Disability Awareness Fair
Date: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location: Millcreek Mall, Macy’s Concourse

This free event is for families and caregivers. Co-sponsored by The Arc of Erie, Down Syndrome Group of Erie County, and Early Connections/Success By 6.

Community Care Family Member Advisory Meetings

Who can attend: Adult Family Members of Community Care Members (Members of Community Care are individuals who are currently enrolled in Pennsylvania HealthChoices)

Eligible Family Members who attend the meeting with receive:

  • Free refreshments
  • $35 for attending the entire meeting

Attendees must register at least one week before each meeting by calling 1-855-310-0241.

Meetings for Erie County will be held on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, May 6, 2014
  • Thursday, August 7, 2014
  • Thursday, November 6, 2014

Each meeting will be held from 12:00 – 1:30 pm at Erie County Blasco Library (Admiral Room), 160 East Front Street, Erie, PA 16507.

Community Care Adult Member Advisory Meetings

Who can attend: Adult Community Care Members (Members of Community Care are individuals who are currently enrolled in Pennsylvania HealthChoices)

Eligible Members who attend the meeting will receive:

  • Free refreshments
  • $35 for attending the entire meeting

Attendees must register at least one week before each meeting by calling 1-855-310-0241.

Meetings for Erie County will be held on the following dates:

  • May 19, 2014
  • August 18, 2014
  • November 17, 2014

Each meeting will be held from 2:00 – 3:30 pm at the NATO Bayfront Martin Luther King Center (Green Room), 312 Chestnut Street, Erie, PA 16507.

Erie Specialty Care Clinic Spring 2014 Schedules Available
Children's Hospital Specialty Care Center Erie offers convenient access to highly skilled specialists from several divisions. Pediatric specialists from these areas will travel to the center to provide outpatient services, including diagnostic evaluations and follow-up care.

The Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center is located at Shriners Hospital for Children, 2nd Floor, 1645 West 8th Street.

Spring 2014 Anticipated Schedule (Download PDF)

Endocrinology: Tuesdays & Wednesdays

  • April 9, 15, 23
  • May 14, 20, 28
  • June 17, 25

Gastroenterology: Tues/Wed/Thur/Fri

  • April 1, 2, 3, 4
  • May 1, 2, 6, 7
  • June 3, 4, 5, 6, 18, 19

Nephrology: Thursdays & Fridays

  • April 17, 18
  • June 26, 27

Neurology: Thursdays & Fridays

  • April 10, 11
  • May 8, 9, 22
  • June 5, 26

Neurosurgery: Thursdays

  • April 24
  • May 8, 22
  • June 12

Pulmonary Medicine: Tuesdays & Wednesdays

  • April 16, 22
  • May 7
  • June 18, 24

To schedule an appointment or make a referral, please call 

NAMI: New Family Support Group Meeting Day

NAMI’s Family Support Group will now be meeting on the 1st and 3rd TUESDAY of every month, starting with the session scheduled on Tuesday, January 21st. The support group will still be from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at NAMI’s office, located at 1611 Peach Street, Suite 105. If you have any questions, please contact the NAMI office at 814-456-1773 or info@namierie.org.

As always, NAMI’s Family Support Group requires no registration! Any family member, caregiver, or loved one of someone living with a mental illness is free to come and offer support for one another.

Education Law Center Webinar on January 22

Join Education Law Center attorney Maura McInerney as she presents a webinar for families of students with disabilities who are home schooled, educated in cyber charter schools, charter schools, private schools or parochial schools.

The 90-minute session begins at 7 p.m. and will provide training, guidance, and technical assistance to help parents, educators, and administrators champion inclusive practices for children with disabilities in a non-traditional school community.

 The webinar is free and is hosted by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.

Registration is required: http://ow.ly/qtVtk

New Early Learning GPS Winter Webinars

Do you work with families and want to offer tips to help their young children grow? The Early Learning GPS is a great place to start

Sign up for free webinars to learn more!

PA’s Promise new Early Learning GPS (Guiding Parents Smoothly) online interactive survey guides families through key areas they need to know to make the best early learning choices for their young children, and pinpoints resources for them based on their responses.

Attendees may also earn one DPW/PQAS/Act 48 hour for participating in this webinar. In order to receive credit, you must also register on the PA Key Calendar at www.pakeys.org.

Learn more by visiting the Early Learning GPS page.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Lead is spooky!
Lead is commonly found in homes built before 1978. Look out for lead in some of these areas: Old paint and varnish on doors & windows, Lead in paint on walls, Dust & paint chips on window wells and sills, Old painted furniture & toys, Old paint on porches, railings, & steps, Chips & dust from outside paint including siding.

If you live in Erie County and think there is a chance that you have lead in your home, contact the Erie Redevelopment Authority at 814-870-1540.

Visit the following websites for more information about Lead Hazards:

Learn more at www.redeveloperie.org or by calling the Erie Redevelopment Authority at 814-870-1540.

New Publication to assist families with Juvenile Justice system

The PA Juvenile Justice System strives to involve families in all aspects of the juvenile justice process. The next publication, "A Family Guide to Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System," was developed by the Family Involvement Committee of the PA Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers.

The guide is intended to assist families with a better understanding of the Juvenile Justice System and to enable them to be better prepared to work closely with juvenile justice staff during the justice process.

Child here to download the publication (PDF).

Need Help? Call the Mental Health Association's Behavioral Health Navigators

If you need assistance to access and/or navigate the behavioral health service and support system for yourself, your child, a family member, or someone you know, you can now contact the Behavioral Health Navigators at the Mental Health Association of PA.

The Navigator positions are designed to help people of any age – children through older adults – find resources for the variety of issues and needs that come up when looking for or using mental health and/or substance abuse services and supports. When you contact the Navigators, you can choose to remain anonymous or share your name.

You can contact the Navigators at 717-346-0549 or 1-866-578-3659, extension 2, or you can reach the Navigators via email at navigator@mhapa.org.

You can also call the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association at 717-564-4930 or 1-800-887-6422 to be connected to a Navigator.

New Government Resource - www.stopbullying.gov

Stopbullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying. Check it out at www.stopbullying.gov.

Important Information About Medical Assistance Benefits

The Department of Public Welfare is making a change to Medical Assistance prescription drug benefits. The change starts January 3, 2012.

What is the change?
You can get up to 6 prescriptions each month. This is a new limit.

Does this change apply to you?
If you are in a managed care plan, contact your managed care plan to ask how this change applies to you.

The change does not apply if:

  • You are under 21 years of age;
  • You are pregnant; or
  • You live in a nursing home or an intermediate care facility.

If you use the PA ACCESS card to get your prescriptions and you do not fit an exception, this change applies to you.

To read the entire notice, please click here.

"Everyong is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live his whole life believing that it is stupid."

- Albert Einstein

Submitted by Brian M., Sprout Contributor

Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Alarms Available to protect residents in Erie

Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are available through the City of Erie Fire Department and Safe Kids Erie partnership known as “Protect the Place You Call Home”. For more information call 870-1402.

Medical Assistance Co-Pays

As part of the PA state budget for 2011-12, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) will begin charging co-pays for Medical Assistance services for children with disabilities whose family income is more than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (or about $45,000 for a family of four). At this point, DPW is still deciding how to implement these co-pays.

Several organizations are concerned about the impact this will have on families. In order to give the DPW some information about out-of-pocket costs families are facing, these organizations have created a short survey asking families to complete.

Please distribute to other friends or families you know who have children with disabilities. Please fill out a separate survey for each child on Medical Assistance due to a disability.


Check out LearntobeHealthy.org!
LearntobeHealthy.org is an online health education center that has been designed to communicate physical and mental health science education concepts to students K-12 through health educational resources such as games, activities, and health education lesson plans. To learn more, visit www.learntobehealthy.org.

Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition Announces new Website to Aid in Fighting Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition (ECDAC) announces the launch of a new website that will aid Erie professionals to fight drug and alcohol abuse. The website, www.eriedrugandalcohol.org, was made possible, in part, with a grant from the Erie Community Foundation.

The Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition, established in 1993, is an all-volunteer 501(C)3 organization. The board of directors and general membership represent human service agencies, health professionals, law enforcement, parents, business and community leaders, elected officials and others concerned with the development of an integrated drug and alcohol education and prevention delivery system. ECDAD is the oldest coalition of its kind in Pennsylvania.

For more information, visit www.eriedrugandalcohol.org.

Bullying Hotline set up by Safe Harbor Behavioral Health
Students in grades K-12 who are being bullied can now get immediate help. A 24-hour hotline SAFELine has been set up by Safe Harbor Behavioral Health. They are currently working with school superintendents and other community leaders to schedule meetings to learn about the hotline.

The number to call is 814-456-SAFE (7233).

WebTool Locates Needed Resources

PEPNet has launched a new “Research Search” tool for www.pepnet.org which will improve access to the rapidly growing variety of PEPNet resources which address issues related to providing quality services to students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The revamped search feature makes it easier to find resources, and provides immediate and accessible references for site visitors, while expanding the site’s search capabilities.

The new feature will search everything in the PEPNet Dissemination Center (PDC) where we house a variety of products, such as handbooks, articles, conference proceedings/tipsheets/curricula/training materials/CDs/DVDs, videoclips, etc. In addition to searching the PDC, you also will be able to search the following offerings:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • PEPNet Listserv Past Posts
  • Current and Past PEPNet Perspectives
  • Training Materials

For more information, please visit www.pepnet.org.

Use Your Head and Prevent Flat Head Syndrome for your Baby
Flat Head Syndrome is a flat spot on the back or one side of your baby’s head. Being in the same position repeatedly causes this condition.

The first six weeks of your baby’s life is a vital period for you to prevent serious disorders in the future– like facial asymmetry and movement disorders.

Here are just a few tips:

  • Alternate your baby’s head direction when placing your baby to sleep on his or her back
  • Carry your child in your arms frequently
  • Use car seats only for riding in the car
  • Avoid extended time in swings and other reclined seats
  • Provide frequent, supervised tummy time when your baby is awake

Visit www.flatheadprevention.org to learn more.

This information provided by the Junior League of Erie, Women building better communities

Preparing for Post-Secondary Education at Disability.gov

This guide has tools for parents to prepare them for their child's transition from public school to postsecondary education and adulthood. Includes information about laws that protect parents' rights as well as the rights of adult children in college.

For more information, check out www.disability.gov.

PASchoolTalk is a new site that provides a forum for people who have concerns and ideas about public education in Pennsylvania.  Some ELL Task Force members have already joined the site.  We’d really like to see more ideas and information on ELL issues on the site – but that will only happen if more join.


Text4baby is a free mobile information service designed to promote safe pregnancy and healthy birth outcomes, particularly among underserved populations.

An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby will help women in having safe and healthy pregnancies by providing them with information they need to give their babies the best possible start in life.

Text4baby is the largest national mobile health initiative to date and is being launched by an unprecedented group of public and private partners, including the White House and the Department of Health and Huma Services (HHS).

To sign up, text BABY or BEBE to 511411, or visit www.text4baby.org

New Resource Available for Parents and Educators

Learntobehealthy.org is an online health science learning site designed to help educators, parents and community leaders communicate important health concepts to students. The site contains comprehensive lesson plans, interactive games and activities, webquests and more. The goal of the site is to inspire students and their families to make health choices that will last a lifetime.

To learn more, visit www.learntobehealthy.org

Special Education Eligibility Guidelines

Parents if your child is eligible for special education did you know:

1. Only you can excuse professional members of the school team from your IEP meeting.  Fore example if your child has Speech, Occupational or Physical therapy only you can excuse their presence.

2. There should always be a special education teacher present and at least one of your child’s regular education teachers.

3. There should always be a local education agent at your meetings. (LEA rep)  This is a person authorized to approve an aide or any monies necessary to meet your child’s needs.

4. You can bring whoever you want to an IEP meeting.

5. IEP meetings should be held at your convenience and with enough time allotted to discuss and make changes to the draft document

6. You can ask for additional goals to be added to any IEP.

7. Goals must be clearly understood and be measurable. (A good rule of thumb, close your eyes and imagine your child doing this goal, if you can then it is probably a good goal for your child)

8. Education should take place in the least restrictive environment

9. Curriculum should be modified to meet your child’s needs.

10. You can always request an assistive technology evaluation. There are technologies available that support children who have a difficult time with Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Math to name a few.

11.  The Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) does not need to be signed at the IEP meeting.  This is the legal document that you sign agreeing with the child’s program, and placement.  It is always best to take home and read over the IEP changes and then decide whether or not you agree.  You have 10 days to do this or the IEP will go into effect whether you agree or not.

12. There are experts available from the IU 5 and PATTAN if your IEP team gets stuck on how to best support your child.

This information has been brought to you by Kathy L.
for more information contact Jill Hrinda-Patten Director of Mission Empower at 814-825-0788

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Autistic - A Poem by Mo Severance

Earth Day Activities for the Whole Family

Cyber Bullying Prevention and Intervention

10 Benefits of Serving Others

Help Your Child to Better Handwriting

Safety Tips for Kids and Parents

Tips for Dealing with Stress at Work

What to do if Someone you Know is Being Abused

Click Here for More Feature Articles

Click Here for More Self Help Articles

April 2014 The Family Voice
April 2014 The Youth Voice

April 2014 Ask The Advocate
The Family Voice The Youth Voice Ask The Advocate
10 Benefits of Serving Others
To many children, the world is small. It is their school, their home, their neighborhood.
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Your Child's Constructive Use of Time
Sometimes kids get bored. Other times, they’re so busy we rarely see them. The paces of our children’s lives...
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Youth: How To Become an Advocate. Interview your friends, fellow students or adults with disabilities to find out what kind of barriers they face on a daily basis.
Read Full Article

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Tips for Parents: Children Raised by Relatives
More than 6 million children in the United States are being raised by relatives—especially grandparents. In many of
these homes, the parents are not present and may be only minimally involved in the child’s life—if at all.
Read Full Article

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